Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Scott D. Southard, A Jane Austen Daydream




Author:  Scott D. Southard
Book title:  A Jane Austen Daydream
Publisher:  Madison Street Publishing


Tell me a little about the book.

No one understands Jane Austen, not even her family has an easy time keeping up with her wit and creativity. Yet, all Jane dreams about is having that great romance, just like the ones she loves to write about in her books.

After a fateful meeting with gypsies, Jane believes she now knows the path forward to finding true love. Over the course of A Jane Austen Daydream, we follow Jane from one romance to another, and over the experiences and surprises she begins to emerge as the Jane Austen we all know today.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?

Based on what little information we have on the real life of Jane Austen, it is obvious she did not live the life she dreamt of in her books. It’s sad and can add a little bittersweet flavor in the reading of her classics. It was this point that started the inspiration for A Jane Austen Daydream.

Using her novels as template and inspiration, in the book I imagine a romance for Jane filled with surprises and a lot of humor.

Since I draw a lot from her own books for the plot and characters in the book, it could almost be a fun treasure hunt for the fans. Still, a reader doesn’t need to be an “Austenite” to enjoy it. There is a good chance that even readers unfamiliar might be interested in the novel… especially because of the new literary twist that happens in it (which I won’t ruin here).

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I would have to say I am part-time, but a very busy part-time writer.

I have a blog (sdsouthard.com) where I write three to sometimes five times a week on subjects ranging from writing, parenting, movies, TV, books, art, writing, news, life, and writing. It’s a lot of fun to do. And I am always working on one book or another.

Most of my writing is done over the evenings (after my kids are asleep). My iPhone is also an amazing tool for creating as well. I’ve written entire chapters in the program Notes!

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Books were always a home for me, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy reading them, collecting them, discussing them. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I felt “ready” to start writing. Since then, I’ve been fighting for my characters; the literary boxing gloves are always on.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

First and foremost, I like to imagine that each of my books, including A Jane Austen Daydream, will surprise readers. See, that is what I love most in a book, when a plot or character can do something that takes my breath away, be perfectly unexpected. So even when I dip into a genre, or a world like Jane Austen, a reader can’t be expecting something normal from me.  Oh, it’s a Jane Austen story, but with some unique twists and turns.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

I don’t do the genre thing. That’s not to say I frown on writers that decide to stick to a specific genre for their writing; it’s just not how I have ever dreamt of my library of work taking shape. See, as a writer, I want to try everything!

Time travel/scifi (My Problem With Doors), fantasy (Megan), mystery (Maxmilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare), regency/historical fiction (A Jane Austen Daydream), etc. The only thing true throughout my body of works is that in each I want to do something new in that field.

As a writer, experimenting like that is a lot of fun. Hopefully, it is as well for my readers.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

I think the toughest for most of us is having our books found in today’s over-congested market. A book needs to stand out, to catch the eye of the readers. Sometimes, when I am on Twitter or scanning through GoodReads or Amazon I wonder if there are more writers than readers out there!

So how do you find that hook that draws a reader in to buy your book? That is a great trick, and the hopes which are many times dashed for us can affect our creativity in future works.

My advice is always to write first for yourself. If anything happens after it (success, good reviews, etc.), it is just a nice bonus.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

Well, Jane is in the story in many, many ways. Dialogue, plots, but also her and her family are characters in it. Granted, I will “change” things to work with the plot I have devised, but there is a seed of truth throughout. This may bother some who study the great lady, but I have always seen this book first and foremost as a tribute.

Give Jane an adventure she might have enjoyed.

How much is your protagonist like you? How different?

I don’t want to say too much here and give away the surprises in this book, but I think most writers can feel a connection to Jane’s struggle to find readers or a publisher for her novels; or simply finding friends and family that will understand the “writing” aspect of her life.

We writers see the world in a way different from everyone else, and that can isolate us. Jane is just like that as well.

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

For A Jane Austen Daydream, I needed to do more than just read her books, I needed to consume them! I think I read each of her books over seven times, covering my paperback copies with three different colors of highlighters (each color meant something for me).

It was over my readings and re-readings that the plot organically began to emerge.

I also read a few biographies on her, but really I wanted her fiction to influence me more than the actual “facts.”

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?

This book really doesn’t have that, but in the past when I had to create such moments in a book, it had to be about truth.

You can’t just do it for the excitement of it. Like everything (from dialogue down to the simplest description) it has to be first and foremost true for the plot and the story. If you are doing it just for the thrill of it, the readers will be able to tell and it will hurt their suspension of disbelief.

Be true to your story in all writing first.

What about your book makes it special?

Yes, there is a lot of research and actual Jane Austen in the book, but what makes it special for me is the heart of it.

See, when I put my hand down on the manuscript, each time, I swear I can feel it beating in there, in between the pages, in between the words. That is what makes the book stand out for me, even compared to my other works. The heart. I don’t know if I will ever be able to create another work like this again. I am very proud of it.  

What is your marketing plan?

My publisher, Madison Street Publishing, is really great. They have devised a wonderful marketing plan.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

The best way to learn about me is to visit my website “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard” at SDSouthard.com. On the site, you can learn about all of my books, but I also post a lot. I write on a variety of topics, whatever interests me at the moment. It’s a lot of fun, and I like to imagine it is for my followers as well.  Stop by for a visit!

Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

My advice for ALL writers is to read everything. So many writers latch on to a style or genre and miss out on everything out there. So read the classics, read things that sound boring, read things in other genres, read whatever you can get your hands on! A writer’s brain is like a sponge, you never know where you will find inspiration. Never stop reading and exploring our great artform.

What’s in the future for you?

Two things actually. I have a book coming out in late May called Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare. I really love that book. I hope readers will find it enjoyable as well. 

Also, last year on my site I wrote a novel in “real time” called Permanent Spring Showers. I was creating one chapter a week, figuring it out as I went along. A really fun challenge and a very interesting book emerged from the experiment. My hope is to finally get around to editing it and then locking down a publisher for it.



Synopsis:
All her heroines find love in the end–but is there love waiting for Jane?

Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone’s guess.

Written in the style of Jane herself, this novel ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years–did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us–to a greater or lesser degree–are head over heels for Jane.



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